A 6-year-old who shot his teacher in January later boasted in a conversation with a school employee that “I shot that b[ ] dead,” according to unsealed redacted search warrants.
The documents obtained from CNN affiliate WTKR describe what happened after first-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner was shot on January 6 at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia.
“I did it,” the boy told school officials, according to police in an affidavit. “I got my mom’s gun last night.”
Unsealed records of Zwerner’s statement to police at the hospital said that when the boy drew the weapon from his pocket and pointed it at her, she asked, “What are you doing with that?”
Zwerner told authorities the boy paused, “then fired one shot that struck Zwerner in her left hand and upper torso,” the affidavit obtained by affiliate WTKR said. Zwerner fled the classroom to the school office, according to the affidavit.
The teacher suffered gunshot wounds to her hand and chest but survived.
A lawyer for the child’s family told CNN Tuesday, “The child had extreme emotional issues, and we are all working to see that he improves every day.”
James Ellenson, the attorney, also said the child is in therapy and has shown improvement. Representatives for the family had previously said the student suffers from an “acute disability.”
The documents also included more information about a previous incident in kindergarten where the same child apparently choked a different teacher.
Authorities spoke to that teacher, who described that the student “walked behind her while she was sitting in her chair and placed both of his arms around her neck pulling down, choking her to the point she could not breathe,” according to the documents.
A teacher’s assistant forcibly removed the student from the classroom, according to the documents.
Police said they worked to obtain limited school records pertaining to the child from Child Protective Services, records on the choking incident, and other information, but those records were not readily provided by Newport News Public Schools.
Newport News Public Schools, in a statement Tuesday, said: “Since the tragedy at Richneck Elementary School in January, Newport News Public Schools has worked cooperatively with the Newport News Police Department and other authorities in support of the investigation. While the school division cannot comment on legal actions, NNPS remains committed to ensuring the well-being and care of all students and staff.”
The mother of the student pleaded guilty to federal gun charges in connection with the incident as part of a plea deal and will be sentenced in October.
Deja Taylor will plead guilty to a state charge of child neglect on August 15, Ellenson told CNN.
A state charge for recklessly handling a firearm will be dropped at the time of the plea, according to Ellenson. “The cap for sentencing on the child neglect charge is six months,” the attorney said.
Sentencing on the federal charges will be on October 18. A separate sentencing on the state charge will take place on October 27.